US 3066827 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 4, 1962 H. H. PRYOR 3,066,827
ARTICLE VENDING MACHINE Filed Jan. 11, 1960 2 sheets-sheet 1 Dec. 4, 1962 H. H. PRYoR ARTICLE VENDING MCHINE 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Jan. 11, 1960 United States Patent Ofltice Stihz'i Patented Deo. 4, 1952 3,05627 ARTICLE VENDEN@ MACHHNE Harry H. Pryor, Et. Louis, Mm, assigner to National Vendors, inc., St. Louis, Mo., a corporation of Missouri Filed dan. il, i960, Ser. No.. L49@ i@ Claims. (Cl. Elin-i9?) This invention relates to vending machines, and more particularly to can vending machines for Vending hot canned foods.
Machines for vending canned hot foods (canned soups,Y
chili, etc.) generally have a plurality of coiumns each holding a stack of cans of a particular food. For example, one column may hold a stack of cans of tomato soup, and another a stack of cans of chili. On operation by a purchaser, the lowermost can in the column is dispensed to the purchaser, and the remainder of the cans in the column move downward by gravity to bring another can into position for being dispensed on the next operation. lt takes time to heat up a can to proper temperature, and heretofore some machines have had a special storage compartment at the bottom where a stock of cans of various foods may be maintained to be heated, these cans being transferred to the appropriate columns when needed. The primary object of this invention is the provision of an arrangement which enables the utilization of the upper part of one or more columns for storage, thereby eliminating any necessity for provision of such a special preheating storage compartment. Thus, with the present invention, a number of cans may be maintained in storage in the upper parts of those columns of a machine which hold slower-selling foods, and which therefore need not contain as many cans available for dispensing to purchasers as those columns which hold faster-selling foods. For example, the upper part of a column for chili may be utilized to hold cans of various foods in storage. This is accomplished by providing one or more of the columns of a machine with a gate in the upper part of the column which is adapted to hold back cans in storage in the upper part of the column, with the arrangement such that a serviceman may readily obtain cans from the upper part of the column for placement in appropriate columns of the machine. A further object of the invention is the provision of an arrangement whereby the gate may be readily moved to a retracted inoperative position for use of the column as a full-capacity column without the storage feature. Another object of the invention is the provision of an arrangement whereby the gate is operable to deliver one can at a time from the upper part of the column and to hold back the remainder of the cans in storage in the upper part of the column so that they will not all fall out. Other objects and features will be in part apparent and in part pointed out hereinafter.
The invention accordingly comprises the constructions hereinafter described, the scope of the invention being indicated in the following claims.
In the accompanying drawings, in which one of Various possible embodiments of the invention is illustrated,
FIG. l is a front elevation of a portion of a column construction for a hot can vending machine incorporating the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a vertical section taken on line 2 2 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged horizontal section taken on line 3 3 of FIG. l;
FG. 4 is an enlarged fragment of FIG. l illustrating a moved position of parts;
FIG. 5 is a vertical section taken on line 5 5 of FIG. 4; and,
FIG. 6 is an enlarged fragment of FIG. 2 illustrating a moved position of parts.
Corresponding reference characters indicate correspending parts throughout the several views of the drawings.
Referring to the drawings, first more particularly to FIG. l, a column construction for a typical hot can vending machine is shown to comprise a plurality of sheet metal vertical partition plates l located side-by-side in spaced-apart relation and dening columns 3 therebetween. Three such plates defining two such columns are shown in FIG. l. lt will be understood, however, that a machine will usually have more than two columns. Each partition plate l has a front ilange 5 for partially closing the fronts of the columns. The partition plates are held in assembly by suitable frame members including upper and lower sheet metal strips i and 9 extending horizontally across the front flanges 5 of the plates.
Each column 3 includes a series of track members at the sides thereof such as indicated at il, 13, l5, 17, I3, Ztl. and Z3 (see FIG. 2) for supporting cans C in horizontal position. These track members are secured to the partition plates it, one above another, successive track members being oppositely inclined and offset to provide a vertical zigzag can chute. Thus, track members lli, l5, 19 and 2,3 provide rearward tracks inclined downward toward the front of the column with their forward ends spaced rearward from front ianges 5 to provide openings through which cans may drop oif their forward ends. Track members i3, Si? and 2l provide forward tracks inclined downward from the front of the column toward the rear of the column and extending between the rearward tracks. Accordingly, a can is adapted to roll forward down the uppermost track il, drop olf onto the forward ends of track i3, roll rearward down track 13 and drop onto the rearward ends of track l5, roll forward down track l5, and so forth on down to the lowermost track 23 which is inclined downward toward the front of the machine at the lower end of the column. At this point, suitable mechanism for dispensing one can at a. time under control of a purchaser from a zigzag stack of cans in the column is provided. The construction of this dispensing mechanism is of no import so far as this invention is concerned, and hence is not shown. It may be of any of various suitable constructions well known in the art. Cans are confined in the column at the front by flanges 5 and at the rear by curved guides 2S.
In accordance with this invention, and as to each column 3, the flanges S on the front of the 'vertical partition plates i are discontinuous, being omitted from just above the forward ends of the intermediate rearward track i5 to the forward ends of forward track i3 next above. This provides a can delivery opening 27 at the front and toward the upper end of the column, the height of this opening being somewhat greater than the diameter of a can C. The forward end of track t5 is spaced rearward from the front flanges 5 a distance somewhat greater than the diameter of the can to provide an opening 29 for a can to drop down onto the forward end of track i7 next below. As to each column 3, a gate generally :designated 3i is provided which is adapted when suitably positioned to keep cans on track 15 from rolling down and dropping off through opening 29, so that cans may be maintained in storage in the upper part of the column from the forward end of track l5 on up.
The gates 3l are all identical. Each is formed from a length of metal rod bent to provide a curved can cradle 33, with a handle 35 at one end of the cradle, and a curved stop arm 37 extending from the other end of the cradle. The rod is bent so that the handle 35 is of G- shape, the cradle being constituted by curved parallel portions of the rod extending from the ends of the C at an angle to the plane of the C, and the stop arm 37 being constituted by curved parallel portions of the rod bent to extend back from the ends of the cradle portions of the rod, the ends of the rod being brought together at 39. Each gate 31 is welded to a pivot rod 4i having an offset parallel pivot 43 at one end and an eye 45 at the other end. Each rod 4l extends between a respective pair'of partition plates l, with pivot 43 received in a hole 47 in the left-hand plate of the pair and with eye 45 adjacent the right-hand plate of the pair and receiving the pivot 43 of the next rod 41 to the right.
The pivot rods 4i. are located slightly above and slightly inward from the upper ends of the lower portions of flanges 5 below the can delivery opening 27, with cient space between them and the forward end of track le" for cans to roll oif track: ILS. The handle of each gate 3l has a width less than the column width but greater than the spacing of the edges of franges 5 of the column. The stop arm 37 of cach gate .'jl has a width soi less than the spacing of the edges of flanges 5. gate is adapted to occupy the operative position shown in EEG. Z (and in dotted lines in Fl-G. 5) wherein the can cradle portion 33 of the gate extends down from pivot rod il and curves rearward toward the forward end of track l5 in the space between rod il and the forward end .of track l5 to keep cans on track 1.5 from rolling forward. Each gate is maintained in this position by engagement of stop arm 37 thereof (which then extends forward from the lower end of the cradle .33) with a pair of stop plates i9 mounted on front langes 5 of the partition plates l and in front of strip 9.
Each stop plate is slidable and rotatable on a screw 5l extending through a slot 53 in the plate and a hole in strip 9 and threaded in a hole in flange 5. The stop plate extends upward from the screw. Slot 53 is located adjacent the lower end of the stop plate and extends heightwise thereof, the stop plate being slidable up and down on the screw. Each stop plate 479 also has a lateral slot 55 adjacent its upper end and a heightwise slot 57 extending upward from slot 55 at the center of the latter. Secured to the front of each ange 5 is a plate dit having a hook portion 63 which may extend either through slot 55 or slot 57 ofthe respective stop plate 49. rl`he arrangement is such that each of the two stop plates 4,9 at opposite sides of the front of a column is adapted to occupy a vertical lowered position (see FlG. l) wherein hook o3 is received in the heightwise slot 57 in the stop plate, the stop plates then projecting laterally beyond the edges of anges S of the column for engagement by stop arm 37 on gate 3l of the column (see FIGS. l and 2). Also, the stop plates are adapted to be moved to the tilted position illustrated in FlG, 4 clear of stop arm 37 by raising each stop plate to bring the lateral slot 55 therein into register with the bottom portion of the respective hook 63, and then swinging the stop plate laterally outward.
As to any given column 3, with the gate 31; thereof held in its chuteablocking operative position of FlG. 2 by engagement of stop arm 37 of the gate with the vertically positioned stop plates i9 at opposite sides of the front of the column, cans C may be held in storage in the upper part of the column above the gate on tracks ES, 13 and l1. Dispensing operations may proceed as usual from the portion of the column below the gate, i.e., from the portion of the column including tracks 17, 19, 21 and 23. While use of the gate for this purpose may reduce the effective dispensing capacity of the column, this is inconsequential as to any column from which slowerselling cans are to be dispensed to purchasers, since there is ample capacity for such slowselling cans below the gate.
Usually, vevery column of the machine will be provided with a gate 3l. As to any column holding fastselling cans, where full capacity for dispensing is needed and the storage feature is not desired, the gate 3l may be swung into the fully retracted position illustrated in HG. 4 and in solid lines in FIG. 5 by tilting the two respective stop plates 49 to their retracted position, then swinging i the gate clockwise as viewed in FIG. 5 from the FiG. 5 dotted line position to the PIG. 5 solid line position wherein the handle 35 of the gate bumps the inside of flanges 5. The gate is then held clear of opening 29 so that cans may roll off track l5 onto track i7.
To obtain a can from storage in the upper part of a column, handle 35 of the gate 3l in that column is pulled down to swing the gate counterclockwise (see FlG. 6). This swings up trie can on cradle 33 of the gate for delivery through delivery opening 27. As the gate swings countercloc use, arm 37' thereof swings up to keep the remainder of the cans in storage from rolling forward.
In view of the above, it will be .seen that the several objects of the invention are achieved and other advantageous results attained.
Aa various changes could be made in the above constructions without departing from the scope `of the invention, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative and not in a liiniting sense.
l. in a can vending machine, a column including means for holding a zigzag stack of cans, cans being adapted to roll in a zigzag course from the upper to the lower end of the column, a at the front of the column and toward the upper end of the column for holding back a number of cans in storage in the upper part of the column, said column having a front opening adjacent the gate for removal of cans from storage, said gate being movable to a retracted position clearing the column so that cans may roll from the upper to the lower part thereof.
2. in a can vending machine as set forth in claim l, said gate also being movable to deliver the lowermost can of the cans in storage outward through said opening.
3. ln a can vending machine, a column for holding a zigzag stack of cans and including track means down which cans may roll in a zigzag course from the upper to the lower end of the column, said column having an opening in the front thereof and above the lower end of the column for discharge of cans from an upper part of the column, and a gate for holding back a number of cans in storage in said upper part of the column to prevent them from rolling down to the lower part of the column and also to prevent them from rolling out through said front opening, said gate being movable to a retracted position clearing the column so that cans may roll from the upper to the lower part thereof.
4. ln a can vending machine as set forth in claim 3, said gate also being movable to deliver the lowermost can of the cans in storage outward through said opening.
5. ln a can vending machine as set forth in claim 4, said gate being adapted to cradle a single can and being movable to deliver the cradled can through Said front opening and to hold back the remainder of the cans in the upper part of the column during such delivery.
6. In a can vending machine, a column adapted to hold a zigzag stack of cans comprising side plates having flanges at the front for partially closing the front of the column, a series of tracks between the side plates including rearward tracks inclined downward toward the front of the column having their forward ends spaced vrearward from the front of the column to provide openings through which cans may drop olf the forward ends of the rearward tracks and forward tracks inclined downward from the front of the column toward the rear of the column and extending between the rearward tracks, said flanges being :discontinuous to provide a front opening for the column above the forward end of an intermediate one of said rearward tracks, and a gate pivotally mounted between the side plates adjacent the forward end of said intermediate rearward track for movement between an operative position for holding cans from rolling off said intermediate track to maintain a number of cans in storage in the column on said intermediate track and the tracks thereabove, and a retracted positon permitting cans to roll off `said intermediate track for full use of the column, :cans being removable from storage through said front opening.
7. In a can vending machine as set forth in claim 6, said gate being formed to provide a can cradle and being swingable to deliver a can cradled therein through said front opening.
8. In a can vending machine las set forth in claim 7, said gate having la stop arm thereon and lsaid column having a stop member at the front thereof engageable by said stop arm to hold the gate in its operative position, said stop `arm moving into position to hold back cans on said intermediate track when the gate is swung to deliver a can.
9. In a can vending machine as set forth in claim 8,
said stop member being movable to a retracted position for permitting said `gate to be swung to its retracted position.
10. In a can vending machine as set forth in claim 9, said lgate having a handle thereon extending through said front opening when the gate is in its operative position.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS